Published by Lyn on 20 May 2015
Richard Peace road-tests two bike racks for folding bikes: the Tern Cargo Rack and the Dahon Traveller Rack.
Touring on folding bikes can make a lot of sense, especially if your daily distances are not huge, conditions under wheel not too rough and you want to hop on and off other forms of transport along your way.
One problem is that smaller wheeled bikes like Tern and Dahon folders are generally set up to take less luggage and many of the available racks will only take mini-size panniers. But there are a couple of rear racks out there designed both for smaller wheeled bikes that will also to take a full touring load.
Tern Cargo Rack
Perhaps the most solid of all these is the Tern Cargo Rack that I have just tested on an ageing Dahon 20" wheeled folder. The top of the rack is made of what is very large gauge tubing for a pannier rack at around 16mm, so restricting the type of pannier hooks that will actually fit on. However, smaller tubing sits below this, allowing you to fit most full size panniers on there, including the ones with standard size mounting hooks, leaving the top free for a rack bag or tent whose fitting will not interfere with the pannier hooks.
Tern's Cargo Rack takes heavy loads with ease (rated up to 25kg) and was pretty easy to bolt together and fit. At 1kg in weight, it's fairly heavy for a rack; a product of the way separate pieces bolt together and the heavy duty tubing and welds, but it certainly looks sturdy enough for extended touring and is featured on Tern's touring models the Verge S27 and the 24" wheeled Eclipse S18.
Dahon Traveller Rack
If you don't need the flexibility the adjustable frame size of the Tern Cargo Rack then the Dahon Traveller Rack is well worth a look; it's around the same price but some 340g lighter. This too has a lower rail and rear mounting plate for a light. The only real downsides are a slightly lighter construction meaning a 20kg load rating and a smaller rack platform for mounting your tent or rack bag on.
Dahon also produce the 'Ultimate Carrier' rack but I've no test experience of this, though it appears to be available for substantially less than the Cargo and Traveller racks. Tern and Dahon racks are generally interchangeable as the bike designs originate from the same company, before it split into two.
Another option might be to look for a full size rack that has particularly long struts of the right profile for your folder, but it's best to check these out as a shop purchase, as buying blind off the internet could easily lead to a non-fitting rack.
Both Tern and Dahon also produce various options for carrying luggage at the front of the bike. Brompton owners note, though; your bikes have their own unique front bag and rear rack options.
Richard Peace is founder of Excellent Books, specialists in cycle publishing. He has made several tours of France and is author of Cycling Southern France (UK, US), Cycling Northern France (UK, US), and Electric Bicycles: The Complete Guide (UK, US). He is a regular contributor to A to B magazine, Bike Europe and writes for Eurobike Show Daily.